With so much hype around its attractive benefits for business, organisations might be feeling the pressure to move to the cloud. Writes Iniel Dreyer, MD of Gabsten Technologies.
While such a bold step might appear lucrative, it’s important to consider timing. The reality is that not all businesses are ready to migrate their infrastructure, applications and software to a cloud platform. This is not a mind-set issue – these organisations are not change-resistant, instead, the time for change has not yet arrived. It is likely that these organisations have recently invested substantially in on-premise infrastructure and software or are companies in highly-regulated industries dealing with sensitive data.
Therefore, cloud migration can only be expected at a later stage.
In the meantime, these organisations are still left with the challenge of running their ICT infrastructures and processes in-house with inadequate internal resources to manage and support their systems effectively.
Furthermore, software purchases have a severe impact on budgets with upfront costs. In such a case, the organisation needs to look at ways to reduce IT costs and complications without moving to the cloud.
A Managed Service can be an effective respite from these challenges, allowing businesses to enjoy some of the benefits that were previously only thought to be associated with cloud platforms, while enabling the organisation to get back to brass tacks and focus on generating revenue for the business.
Consider the timing
There are many reasons why an organisation might not yet be set make the move to the cloud, including the fact that most of the business applications in use today were never engineered with cloud in mind, making it tricky to be sure that the move will deliver the exact same experience and securities that come with an on-premise approach.
There are also considerations of security, organisational capacity, workplace culture and market maturity that need to be ironed out before cloud can become a priority, even in the face of pressing budgetary concerns.
A different approach
Described as the practice of outsourcing on a proactive basis the management responsibilities and functions, Managed Services is a strategic method of cutting costs and boosting operational performance. By effectively unburdening the support and management of certain ICT infrastructure, applications and software on to an expert, organisations can immediately unlock the benefit that comes with access to far more collective experience and knowledge in that specific field, than an internal IT department or resource would have.
A Managed Services Provider steps in to manage and assume responsibility for providing an agreed-upon set of services to the organisation, either proactively or as the service provider determines that such services are needed. The organisation benefits from predictable IT support costs, billed on a subscription basis.
Adopting such an approach makes sense particularly when it comes to tasks like data management, backup and disaster recovery. A data loss would be disastrous for any organisation, which makes information management, backup and disaster recovery the ideal task to outsource to the experts. Handling these tasks in-house comes with the risk that the individual entrusted with the task does not have sufficient skills and there is also the chance that a fatal mistake could be made.
By outsourcing these information management tasks issues related to cost, quality of service and risk become subject to a contractual agreement. This means that the organisation will be able to benefit from high-availability and security, as determined by Service Level Agreements (SLAs) along with access to the service provider’s engineers and technical architects.
Managed Service Providers also offer flexibility and scalability, and can be built to integrate with on-demand utility storage, back up and network services, making it possible to rent such services on a pay-per-use basis where necessary.
Benefits of managed services
If the peace of mind that comes from entrusting data management and disaster recovery to the experts is not enough of a benefit to the organisation, the cost implications should be an eye-opener. Managed services can offer the lowest fixed cost of ownership, as it can be between 30-50% less expensive than hiring a dedicated internal team.
This is because Managed Service Providers pass on economies of scale to their clients, their operations are automated and efficient to the point that their data management and disaster recovery expert resources can be shared between multiple clients, driving costs down while freeing up internal client resources.
Before managed services, businesses without internal dedicated staff would only address ICT issues on a break/fix basis. As the technological landscape has transformed and we’ve evolved to digital business models and interactions, issues like data security and disaster recovery have become more important.
As a result, businesses are coming to the realisation that there’s more to IT than fixing things as they break. By making use of managed services for information management, data backup and disaster recovery, businesses will continually have access to new and updated technology, as well as guaranteed levels of expert, reliable service.
Thus, the organisation can be assured of the protection of critical data and operational processes, without needing to make the move to cloud until they’re ready.